12 May 2012
So what's the appeal of sitting around talking about Plutarch, the Cartesian perfect apple or epistemology? Phillips says it's about finding "exhilarating perplexity", which he defines as "moments where your vision of the truth is a little less solid". He suggests it is encapsulated in Aristotle's word eudaimonia, which is roughly translated as "human flourishing".
Based on the Socratic notion that the unconscious determines emotional and physical well-being, Evans believes philosophising can actually reduce personal suffering. The idea (much simplified) is that uncovering "bad ways of thinking" can help in a similar way to modern forms of cognitive behavioural therapy. "The word 'ethics' is actually rooted in the Greek word for 'habit'," he says. "The ancients carried handbooks digesting their ideas and memorised catchphrases to help them out in difficult situations."
Read the rest at The Independent.